The Practical Basenji Guide
Basenji Information worth knowing
Basenji Schensi Africa Dog
Living with Basenjis
Dogs belong probably to the oldest domestic animals man had
Josef H. Reichholf
The Breeding Dog Basenji Standard belongs to the Schensi dogs. The Schensis belong to the oldest species of canis familiaris. wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog The Basenji Homeland is Africa. The Inhabitants of Central Africa referred to the Basenji as 'mbwa shenzi', which means wild dog.
Colour of the Basenji
What a dog is the Basenji? Answer: A Dog that evokes strong feelings. If your desire is to live together with a Basenji prepare yourself very well and think about your social environment. Because Basenjis are by nature part of a pack they do not want to be left alone. Basenjis could not be alone for many hours. They are very active dogs and need a lot of exercise. That has to be taken into account when one wants to live with this dog for a time span 12 - 17 years living together with your Basenji.
Mrs. Elspet Ford, Basenji breeder since 1961, who lived some times in Zambia, wrote in her excellent book The complete Basenji "If your desire is for an obedient, servile dog, who will happily spend days alone in a kennel without complaint, a Basenji is definitely not for you. It is a "people" dog, accustomed for generations to live freely around the huts and fires of the tribesman; the results can be devastating if it is shut away from human company. However, if you want a playful, teasing, independent, intelligent and inquisitive companion, who can outsmart you more often than not and has ready answer should you grumble about its conduct, then maybe you and a Basenji are made for each other. There is no middle road with Basenjis, you either love them or loathe them - so be sure that you are in the first category before contemplating sharing your home with one for the next 12 or more years. " The aging Basenji
Many years of experience with Basenjis lead me to describe their traits and behavior, frequently supplemented with useful information and specifics provided by Basenji friends. training aids
I am always impressed to know that Basenjis belong to the oldest domestic animals man had; they were useful in hunting and are attached to people. Nevertheless, anyone knowing Basenjis quickly learns that a Basenji does not belong to them. We will never completely understand the being of Basenjis. He remains, as he has for millennia an independent and freedom loving dog on our side who quickly wins totally our favor, or our repudiation.
Basenjis are sensitive. If there is a good atmosphere in their environment, they are in a good mood as well. The same applies to bad moods.
The Basenji is alert, affectionate and energetic. The instincts of Basenjis are highly developed, necessary for their environment but not for modern civilization. They have excellent sense of smell, hearing and sight, recognizing any opportunity that presents itself, such as an open door, front door or garden gate, to escape. My advice, be consequent in first giving the command stop and only then the command come; this is important for instance when opening a car door. When he is on leash this precaution is not necessary. An open car door will lead to accidents, may be they jumped into their death, as they don’t see the danger of cars, streetcars, or railroads. For them moving objects are prey that should be chased and therefore they must be kept on leash near streets and in a hunting territory. Do not have to much trust in them if they are on the loose. We recommend that you intensively train them right from the beginning to obey and come back to you up on command, when the dogs have strayed away. A little treat may work wonders. Treats must be given only in exceptional situations because these rascals start begging right away.
All are equipped by nature with eyelashes and whiskers as sensors. Unfortunately, it has become fashionable to shave off these hairs. Eyes should be brown almond-shaped.
Eyelashes and almond-shaped brown eyes
Whiskers are very important for the dogs existence.
Dogs vibrissa (Tactile Sense) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiskers
Whiskers, or vibrissae, are coarse, long, widely spaced sensory hairs located around the muzzle of most animal species. They are very sensitive to touch.
I would be elated if would see at dog shows that Basenji owners let them keep Whiskers these attributes, which are necessary tactile sense and so typical of these cat-like dogs.
Erect ears and beautiful wrinkle folds
With his ears erect, the Basenji shows very beautiful wrinkle folds which unfortunately are less visible with black-and-white or tricolor species. Their ears are mobile in all directions.
They all have tightly-curled tails with a white tag. "Apple bench vice"
Felicite d'Casa Regina
Pads should be white. The body can have white marks.
On his front legs, he has a sixth claw, the so called dewclaw and they have a different pad. The comparison between a basenji pad and a pad of a normal dog. Please see below illustration.
The difference between a Basenji and a normal dog paw
Basenjis are afraid of the dark because that meant danger in their early homeland. They have almost no body odor - an inheritance from their life in Africa. There, the absence of smell is protection from predators. Unfortunately, this does not protect Basenjis from attacks by other dogs because they miss the typical dog scent. They clean themselves intensively. I noticed that my Basenjis will wipe it's muzzle clean after eating. If being stained or wet their first concern is to clean themselves thoroughly, or lick themselves and others dry. In Africa this is an essential strategy. They use their paws like a cat to clean it's eyes and face. The paws are also used pouncing on balls and toys when playing. Although they are extremely clean, they like to avoid water. They do not like to be given a bath, which they usually do not need anyway. They love to be washed, brushed, and, when they are changing their fur, in Europe in wintertime, to be rubbed with odorless hair lotion for a healthy fur. Their pelt should always be smooth and glossy. When they shed their hair once a year, good brushing helps.
Basenjis inhabit two different climate zones in their homeland the savannah and the rain forest.
The coat of Basenjis differs according to climate conditions. Some Basenjis develop a thicker fur than those who do not need it. Basenjis that do no grow the protective layer of wool need to be helped by warm coats in wintertime. These differences are gradually disappearing due to indiscriminate breeding. That knowledge disappears with it.
For anatomical reasons, the Basenji cannot bark in the accepted sense, although it is capable of emitting a short sharp sound "Wuff". The Basenji is far from mute, they have a full rate of sounds, the so called "Basenji language". They warn with a deep growl They sound alarm when a stranger comes with a short sharp „woof“. Friends are greeted happily, sometimes with a loud yodel. The owner is greeted enthusiastically and with a prolonged yodel. As long as distance is respected, anybody is allowed to enter. Outdoors they are curious but rather reserved toward strange people and dogs. Basenjis are alert and therefore sometimes they can be aloof with strangers and other dogs. When they are attacked, they behave like all dogs.
A Basenji owner must take to above traits to heart because they are a consequence of their origins.
This breed go into heat normally once per year, in Europe in the beginning wintertime, therefore the puppies are born in December or January.
Basenjis are always looking for a place in the sun, or the warmest spot in the house.
Sun worshipper Azande Cosmo and Angori
To better understand and to interpret their behavior, I started to research their natural expression as well as their special needs. I attempted to interpret their behavior correctly and therefore had to learn the Basenji Language. My advice is a demand to all Basenji companion, please learn the Basenji language to avoid misunderstanding. That's very helpful in addition to share a species-appropriate life with Basenjis. A better understanding of the dogs leads to a better and more relaxed coexistence. Basenji owners can communicate appropriate to the Basenjis if they use the basenji language. Especially with Basenjis and their pronounced pack behavior this reinforces the bonds.
Basenjis are intelligent and independent dogs, which guaranteed their survival in Africa. They obey when it fits to their natural instincts. Basenjis learn very quickly but then do as they like. Take it easy and don’t worry.
They will use any opportunity to escape and to exercise their freedom because they are freedom loving. They react resentfully after being unfair punished and will never forget it. Basenjis are hunting dogs and will chase anything as "prey", therefore they use any chance to hunt. Basenjis like to have control about anything in their environment. Please protect anything worth, especially food, because the Basenji seek out nearly every food for immediate consumption. I noticed that Basenjis are always interested in getting food.
For hundreds of years the Basenjis are accustomed to be clever to find enough to eat in their homeland. In his mind is the best place to safe food his stomach. Nothing is ever buried for future use.
They are very active dogs and need a lot of exercise. If they are trained too harshly, they might become disobedient and destructive. But if no demands are made of them, the same problems result i.e. these intelligent dogs need stimulation to learn. Being ignored because of lack of time or our own impatience and frustration can provoke bad attitudes.
They love to to scamper through the house. They love to play even in the snow, but cold rain, hail, strong winds and frost are very unpleasant for almost any Basenji and halts all action. They love to lie in the sun and in other warm spots, such as near a heater. They sleep more soundly than other dogs ( Prof. Randy Altmann: Observations: Basenji Brain, Basenji Behavior ). However, they wake up instantly; be careful when they get startled. Therefore do not approach them until they are wide awake. The old adage says: Let sleeping dogs lie.
The older Basenji needs less movement and more sleep. However, he still needs activities and variety. At the end of life your Basenji needs a lot of attention.
end of life
First of all, it is very important to know that Basenjis do not like to be alone. Start training your dogs as early as possible to be on their own. How long can one leave them unaccompanied without worries? staying alone Because the freedom loving Basenjis should never be shut in, to confine them in a cage is a bad idea. It is a necessary evil for Basenjis. A cage should be used only in exceptional situations; but the dogs should be trained early on tolerate them. Keep him there as little as possible, because Basenjis are cat like independent dogs.
There are tricks like hiding treats in a cage.
Never, please never put a Basenji on a chain. He tries to escape and may be injured.
Life in a pack is the natural way of life of Basenjis. It corresponds to their original life in Africa. It is quite possible to keep two or more of them together. However, before you decide to do that, visit some basenji companions and observe their pack. They usually tend to seek out one person as major relation and tend to show special attention to him or her. They easily can find and accept their place in the pack, but sometimes they start a ranking fight Observe them and find out the time of ranking fights. The owner is the „leader of the pack“. That should be made clear, but please do not try to train your Basenji to be an obedient „good dog“. That is absolutely not in his nature. Some basenjis are trained to be a good dog, but it always makes me sad to see this. Basenjis need complete inclusion in the family. They feel like equal family members.
If you understand the yearning for smoothly treatment and pet them gently they pant quietly with pleasure and smack their tongues. Basenjis are intolerant of coddling like cats, but very affectionate on his own initiative. Basenjis can be full of humor and make us laugh with their antics. Basenjis like to play also with objects, but they are not suited for the usual games like retrieving sticks, etc. because it quickly bores them. They quietly show with their vocal sounds or by their body language when they want us to pay attention to something; we just have to learn to notice this. If you take time for your Basenjis you will receive much joy from them.
Start training based on the character of Basenjis as early as possible. The Animal Learn Method animal-learn.de is the best for Basenjis; to teach without punishing but consequent enforcement of an order to the dog, corresponds to my view of education.
Please take time for daily long walks, which are vital important for Basenjis.
They must be included in your life, as they consider themselves one of the family. Basenjis differ greatly in their character and are independent like cats in their behavior. They have their inner life as we do, they trick us and give us pleasure with their games. I like that about them.
Love him just like he is, you will have fun with him.
The Homeland of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is South Africa. There the Ridgeback were often hold together with Basenjis. The personality of both dogs are very similar. dogtime.com/dog-breeds/rhodesian-ridgeback
My hint for a better understanding for the living with Basenjis are these Books
Turid Rugaas Vlg. animal learn
A very good Book about Dog Language
Lupine for Dog Owners Günther Bloch, Elli H. Radinger Vlg. Kosmos [D]
A guideline for a rational relationship between human and dog
New information from two Wolf Experts about the 'Wolf in Dog's Clothings' About Alpha, Dominance and Other Popular Fallacies